Back in February, we described a new capability that IBM was developing called Qiskit Runtime. This capability can be particularly useful for hybrid classical/quantum algorithms such as QAOA and VQE where data is passed back and forth between the classical and quantum computers multiple times. By co-locating the classical and the quantum computers together and having them both run within Qiskit Runtime execution environment latencies can be reduced and queueing times minimized resulting in a great improvement in the overall runtime of the program. IBM has now made this capability available in a private beta to selected members of the IBM Quantum Network and have indicated they will make it more publicly available soon.

IBM plans on continuing to develop and add features to the Qiskit Runtime. Two future features that they are planning include an Upload and Iterate feature that will allow the program to have different inputs with each iteration and also a Receive Intermediate Results feature that allow a user to adjust the parameters and tweak the in-progress experiment based on the intermediate results.

As an example of the power of this capability, IBM described how the simulation time of a Lithium Hydride molecule could be reduced from an original estimate of 45 days to about 9 hours, an improvement of 120 times. Besides the improvements made by the introduction of Qiskit Runtime other improvements including algorithm improvements, improved processor performance, and better readout and qubit reset performance also helped to make this execution time reduction. IBM breaks down the contribution of the individual improvements as follows:

  • Algorithm Improvements 1.8X
  • Qiskit Runtime 4.0X
  • System Software 1.5X
  • Control Systems 4.2X
  • Device Fidelities 2.8X

Additional information about Qiskit Runtime is available on IBM’s website in a blog posting located here and documentation located here. Those wishing to learn more about Qiskit Runtime and receive updates can fill out a form available here.

May 13, 2021